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GSW Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Resources

While the health and safety of our campus community continues to remain our highest priority, Georgia Southwestern expects to remain fully operational, including student and athletics events, campus dining, and all campus services. Per the University System of Georgia (USG), GSW will not require employees or students to be vaccinated in order to work or attend the university. However, faculty, staff, students and visitors are strongly encouraged to receive the vaccine.

The USG continues to recognize COVID-19 vaccines and boosters offer safe, effective protection and urges all students, faculty, staff and visitors to get vaccinated and/or boosted either on campus or with a local provider. As USG works closely with the Georgia Department of Public Health to prioritize the health and safety of campus communities, the system encourages people to wear masks based on their preference and assessment of personal risk.

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please contact Student Health Center (229) 931-2235 to schedule an appointment or visit your local medical provider.  

Last updated: August 10, 2022

Report Health Concerns

If you test positive for COVID-19, you are expected to isolate for 5 days from the first full day of symptoms.  The GSW Student Health Center, located in the Herschel A. Smith Health Center(229) 931-2235, is open to provide medical care. 

What to do if you test positive for COVID-19

  • Contact your class instructors/faculty members and supervisor (if you work on campus) via email to inform that you are isolating because of COVID-19 and provide your anticipated return date provided by your healthcare provider or as defined by CDC guidelines. 

Class absences

Instructors will determine the proper course of action to take to address missed course material due to COVID-19 absences. 

Students who seek medical care from the Student Health Center will receive a written confirmation of treatment and absence. The GSW CARE team will send a general absence notice on behalf of the student after receiving confirmation from the Student Health Center. 

If you live on campus, complete the following:

  • Notify your Residence Life Coordinator as soon as possible.
  • Follow steps listed above.
  • Contact guardian to make arrangements to go home during illness.
  • In special circumstances, Residence Life staff can assist with alternative isolation arrangements.

Employees who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive should not report to work, immediately notify their supervisor, and contact Human Resources

Employees may return to work after the following:

  • Isolation for 5 days 
  • Fever free for 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medication
  • Recommended to wear a well-fitting mask until day 10 of first full day after symptoms developed
Quarantine Guidelines
Contact Tracing
Employee Leave

Isolation Instructions

Isolation is for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. 

  • Stay home except to get medical care.
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.
  • Wear a face mask.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water.
  • Avoid sharing household items.
  • Clean high-touch surfaces frequently.
  • Monitor your symptoms.
    • If you develop worsening symptoms (difficulty breathing), seek medical attention. 

Discontinuing home isolation if you HAD symptoms:

  • At least 5 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, and
  • At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without use of fever-reducing medications and symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, etc.) have improved

Discontinuing home isolation if you did NOT HAVE symptoms:

  • At least 5 days have passed since the positive lab test and the person remains asymptomatic
  • Note, if you later develop symptoms, you should follow the guidance for symptomatic persons above.
  • Wear mask around others for 5 days after quarantine.
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*Faculty and staff should be prepared to accommodate students who are required to go into quarantine or isolation.

Guidelines for Quarantining

Symptoms with or without positive COVID test:
  • Quarantine for 5 days from the first day symptoms appeared.
  • May stop quarantine when at least 5 days have passed since symptoms first appeared and at least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved.
Positive COVID test and Asymptomatic:
  • Quarantine for 5 days from positive test date.
  • May stop quarantine when at least 5 days have passed since the positive laboratory test and you do not have symptoms.
  • Note, if you later develop symptoms, you should follow the guidance for symptomatic persons listed above.

To determine when 5 days have passed, you can consider that day 0 of isolation defined as either the date your symptoms started, if symptomatic, or the date of your first positive test, if asymptomatic.

Exposed to someone with COVID:
  • It is recommended, but not required, for all persons exposed to COVID-19 regardless of vaccination status to wear a well-fitting mask for the 10 days following exposure when around others.
  • Monitor health during 10 days following exposure.
  • Suggest testing 5 days after exposure.
  • Not vaccinated – quarantine for 5 days (GSW standard, per USG and CDC)
  • Vaccinated more than 6 months ago for 2 doses and no booster dose – suggested quarantine for 5 days
  • Vaccinated more than 2 months with 1 dose and no booster dose – suggested quarantine for 5 days
  • Vaccinated and booster dose – quarantine not necessary
  • Had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days (tested positive using a viral test) – quarantine not necessary

Contact Tracing Instructions

Contact tracing is the process of quickly identifying, assessing, and managing people who have been exposed to a disease to prevent additional transmission. Contact tracing is a key strategy for preventing further spread of COVID-19. 

When the DPH is notified of a case (a person with confirmed COVID-19), the case is interviewed and people they had close contact with (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or longer) beginning two (2) days before they became ill are identified.  DPH will then reach out to these individuals either by phone or text message to inform them that they have come in contact with someone with COVID-19  and enroll them in symptom monitoring. 

All information collected is provided voluntarily and will be kept confidential according to HIPAA standards.


COVID-19 Related Leave for Employees

COVID-19-specific leave for isolation and quarantine is no longer available.

  • Employees who must isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19 illness or exposure may telework during this time with the approval of their supervisor.
    • The nature of their position influences whether an employee is able to telework, since some positions are not able to be performed remotely.
    • When telework is not possible, employees who must isolate or quarantine must use their accumulated leave to be away from work.

Employee Travel

As of May 2021, the state of Georgia is no longer under a non-essential travel ban. Regular travel may resume under normal travel policies. International travel should be discussed with your supervisor.



Approval of all COVID-19 related accommodations and flexible work arrangements (including telework) expired June 30, 2021. Requests for ADA accommodations or flexible work arrangements will be reviewed in accordance with the pre-pandemic ADA accommodations or Telework/Flextime policies.


Students who need accommodations for their classes should contact the Office of Accommodations and Access.


What is coronavirus (COVID-19)?

According to the CDC, COVID-19 is spread like any other respiratory illness, such as the common cold or influenza. Coughing or sneezing by those who already have symptoms spread coronavirus to others. It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

What are the symptoms?

Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Anyone showing signs or symptoms of coronavirus should call their primary care provider or the GSW Student Health Clinic at 229-931-2235. Let them know you are experiencing symptoms over the phone before showing up to the office. While you are waiting to see your doctor, be sure to take the recommended precautions to stop the spread of germs. Do not go out in public or go to work until you've been cleared by your doctor.

What precautions can I take?

People can help protect themselves from respiratory illness with everyday preventive actions.

  • Wear a face covering or mask.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home if you are sick, especially if you have a fever.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with tissue or your sleeve when sneezing or coughing.
  • Stay home and avoid crowded places if possible. 

What should GSW students be doing?

We encourage GSW students to diligently check their GSW email accounts and this page for any updates. Important announcements will also be made on social media and, in emergency situations, our emergency notification system. Students should also be practicing good hygiene and the precautions listed above.

If news about COVID-19 is causing an increase in anxiety, hopelessness or isolation, we have structures in place to help you attend to your mental health. Students can connect with the Counseling Services, and employees can seek resources through Human Resources and the Employee Assistance Program.

What about students in off-campus experiential learning?

Students may be required by off-campus partnering organizations to wear masks and/or be vaccinated as a condition of participation in experiential learning opportunities such as study abroad programs, externships and delivery of medical services.

Contact Information